Shopping for furniture on any budget is never easy. It involves endless searching to find something that is high quality, fits your style, and can work within your price point. Unfortunately, those three elements often don't add up. Eugene Kim, founder of the brand new company Dims., saw this problem and decided to come up with a solution. He wanted to create pieces not only well-made with origins in Nordic, Japanese, and Shaker styles, but also came without high markup and unnecessary costs. In short, he aimed to produce honest, functional design for 21st-century living.
“Dims. was created with a singular goal in mind: to provide original, high-quality design at attainable prices,” says Kim. “Our aim is to fill the gap between luxury furniture that’s built to last but sold at inflated price points, and fast furniture that you can afford but is lacking in design, material, and production quality.”
The results? An amazing collection featuring four designs that are built to last and come with a wallet-friendly price tag. Want to learn more about the innovative company democratizing design? Read ahead to see our interview with its founder.
Lonny: What was your inspiration behind starting Dims.?
Eugene Kim: As someone who's moved over a dozen times in his 20s and 30s, I've shopped for furniture at all the usual suspects over the years. When I graduated from shopping at IKEA in my 20s, I looked around and realized that I didn't like the mid-priced furniture at big-box stores, but I couldn't afford the expensive furniture at luxury boutiques.
When I dug deeper, I found out that most of the furniture I liked was marked up six to eleven times. Not only was that way out of my reach, it seemed like such a waste. Why make beautiful furniture if it can only be appreciated by a select few? Why not create great, original design that's accessible by many? Very few American brands are answering these questions in a meaningful way, which is why Dims. was born.
How do you hope the company will bridge the gap between aspirational and inspirational pieces? Are you doing any particular business practices to cut costs on good quality designs?
EK: Most affordable furniture brands will compromise on design, materials, or craftsmanship (in some cases, all three) to cut costs. That's the old way of doing things — make things cheaper. We do things differently.
Instead of cutting costs, we cut middlemen (basically, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers) out of our business model. Each middleman represents one level of markup so by the time a piece of authentic luxury furniture reaches a high-end showroom, its retail price has often ballooned. Since we sell online and directly to customers from our designers and factories, we can invest in high-quality design, materials, and craftsmanship, while still delivering lower price points.
How would you define the aesthetic of Dims?
EK: Simple and unadorned, with a touch of bold. Dims. is inspired by the honest, functional traditions of Shaker, Japanese, and Scandinavian design, but because we work with a handpicked group of forward-thinking designers, every Dims. piece feels distinctly contemporary. We call it "new-century modern."
How do you hope to see Dims. grow in years to come?
EK: Concretely speaking, we see Dims. growing organically to offer a full array of furniture, lighting, and accessories both here in the U.S. and abroad. Big picture, we hope Dims. can help overturn the mistaken belief that great design has to be stiff, serious, and expensive. We believe design should be approachable and democratic, and not just price-wise. To make this idea a reality, we not only have to design amazing products, but also design amazing experiences (both online and offline) that welcome and educate, rather than intimidate. All this to say, we're only scratching the surface of our ambitions right now.